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Were the scallops bad....


nessa
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Or was I just misbehavin'?

I bought some fresh scallops for dinner this evening and something was just not right.

They didn't smell bad, no more or less fishy than any other fish product I've brought home to my kitchen to lovingly prepare..... And I have cooked scallops before.... but not very often.

They were nice and large, most about the size of a half dollar or larger. At least when I started, that is. They did seem to fall apart a little easier than I remember while gently washing and patting them dry. I tossed them with a couple teaspoons of tamari, heated the oil in the pan to sear them, then added a teaspoon of sugar, thinking to up the carmelization. I tossed them in the pan and they started to sputter and sizzle like good little scallops. I turned my back to cut the green onions, and when I turned back they were swimming in some whitish liquid. Drowning in it. Perplexed, and not wanting boiled scallops, I drained them and added a touch more oil. Then the smell hit me. Twerent quite right. It didnt smell like bad fish, just did not smell like scallops. I still cant place the smell but it made me very nervous. More whitish liquid was coming out, but they looked done so I, being the good little lab rat, ate one. They had reduced to the size of a quarter or so. Gross. chemically, soapy, weirdness. No sweet delicate scallops, these. I dumped them down the disposal. I was afraid to give them to the dogs lest they be toxic. I really wanted pan-seared scallops, but I settled for some broiled salmon. :( I was using a cast iron skillet, could they have reacted? Am I out of my mind? Lets hope I won't be sick in the morning.... Can anyone offer any insight?

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Sorry this happened to you. A better bet might be if your fishmonger offers scallops that are "dry" or "diver". That usually means it hasn't been soaked in any preserving solution, but I always ask just in case.

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I got them from Sprouts, a local farmers markety kinda grocery store, they are usually pretty organic. But I will ask them cause that was just plain nasty. I've always been pretty happy with their fish. If I recall correctly the last scallops I bought from them were previously frozen.....

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If I don't see the word "dry" on the tag, I always ask, even at my favorite fishmonger. My understanding is that most scallops have this preservative.

They were in the case, not a bag. I never thought to ask ut now I'm going to look that up and have a wee little word with the nice man behind the counter!

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Oh dear you have my sympathy. Nothing worse as a cook to find the ingredients you’ve lavished your hard-earned time and money on are sub-standard. Especially with a precious ingredient such as scallops.

Sometimes though it can very difficult to gauge the freshness of seafood when it is sold already prepared. For example with fish fillets and in particular with scallops out of the shell. I buy scallops when I can afford them but i always buy them in the shell. That way i know exactly how fresh they are and that they haven’t been pumped full of preservatives and water. Fresh scallops are always tightly closed. I don’t mind paying a little extra as I do see them as a ‘luxury’ ingredient. Besides, paying less for an inferior product is a false economy (as everyone knows – I hope!).

You definitely need to have a word with your seller. In your position if the goods where as bad as you described then I would do more than have a wee word to the nice man!

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Oh dear you have my sympathy.  Nothing worse as a cook to find the ingredients you’ve lavished your hard-earned time and money on are sub-standard.  Especially with a precious ingredient such as scallops.

Sometimes though it can very difficult to gauge the freshness of seafood when it is sold already prepared.  For example with fish fillets and in particular with scallops out of the shell.  I buy scallops when I can afford them but i always buy them in the shell.  That way i know exactly how fresh they are and that they haven’t been pumped full of preservatives and water.  Fresh scallops are always tightly closed.  I don’t mind paying a little extra as I do see them as a ‘luxury’ ingredient.  Besides, paying less for an inferior product is a false economy (as everyone knows – I hope!).

You definitely need to have a word with your seller.  In your position if the goods where as bad as you described then I would do more than have a wee word to the nice man!

Very few fish purveyors in the U.S. offer scallops in the shell. Is that really a commonly found option in the U.K.?

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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They were in the case, not a bag.

I probably should have said "sign" rather than tag--I meant the sign in the case that identifies each item. When you look in the case, there's often a sign for each item, and it it doesn't say DRY scallops, I ask. Or, if they use a blackboard for prices, it might say dry there. If not, again, I ask.

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Very few fish purveyors in the U.S. offer scallops in the shell.  Is that really a commonly found option in the U.K.?

I'd like to know this as well. I know what scallops in the shell look like but I have never seen them sold in the States in any sort of market, farmers market, or seafood store.

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It's not unusual to find scallops in the shell here in the UK. Of course, there are also the 'fresh' ones that you can buy that are packed into plastic tubs and are sold by weight. Surely you can find oysters, mussels, clams etc in their shells over there, isn't unusual that you can't find scallops in the shell?

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It's not unusual to find scallops in the shell here in the UK.  Of course, there are also the 'fresh' ones that you can buy that are packed into plastic tubs and are sold by weight.  Surely you can find oysters, mussels, clams etc in their shells over there, isn't unusual that you can't find scallops in the shell?

Funny you should mention that. I live well in the interior of the USA and may not have typical delivery, but I've never seen scallops in the shell here in Minnesota. Mussels, oysters, clams, shrimp - yes. Scallops, no. I wonder if the shells are kept for sale elsewhere?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Here in the U.S., live scallops in shell can sometimes be found at very good "Asian" grocery stores (there is one in Seattle that usually has nice, large, live scallops), but rarely outside of that context, alas. More people should ask about them.

Frozen "dry" scallops are OK, sometimes even very good, but they really aren't as good as live from the shell. Sigh. Glad to hear that in the UK it is becoming more standard...

jk

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  • 1 month later...

I was at a Whole Foods in Dallas today, picking up some things and also needing something for dinner. I cruise through "animal protein row". The seafood section is the first stop. A large amount of U10 scallops caught my eye. So, I bought some. Came home, and searched for "scallops" here in the Cooking forum. This thread was at the top of the list. I read it and started to get really worried. I was prepared for poor results.

But I think I made out OK. Here is what I made...

gallery_31660_4726_59697.jpg

really, very simple. rinsed and dried the scallops with paper towels. Seasoned with salt and pepper.. Heated a non-stick skillet to medium high on my electric stove. Added some olive oil and butter. Put scallops in pan. Two minutes on first side. Flip. Two on the second.

Let them rest as I dressed the greens with a simple vinaigrette. Then I just plated them up as pictured.

I guess I got lucky. They seem to have seared very nicely. I never noticed any oozing of liquid during cooking or as they rested or after they were plated.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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It's not unusual to find scallops in the shell here in the UK.  Of course, there are also the 'fresh' ones that you can buy that are packed into plastic tubs and are sold by weight.  Surely you can find oysters, mussels, clams etc in their shells over there, isn't unusual that you can't find scallops in the shell?

For some reason the roe has always been considered offensive by the scallop vendors in North America. Perhaps a remnant of the Puritans influence. The sex organs in the other shellfish are not as obvious as that orange thing :shock:

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I was at a Whole Foods in Dallas today, picking up some things and also needing something for dinner.  I cruise through "animal protein row". The seafood section is the first stop.  A large amount of U10 scallops caught my eye.  So, I bought some.  Came home, and searched for "scallops" here in the Cooking forum. This thread was at the top of the list.  I read it and started to get really worried.  I was prepared for poor results.

But I think I made out OK.  Here is what I made...

gallery_31660_4726_59697.jpg

really, very simple. rinsed and dried the scallops with paper towels.  Seasoned with salt and pepper..  Heated a non-stick skillet to medium high on my electric stove.  Added some olive oil and butter.  Put scallops in pan. Two minutes on first side.  Flip. Two on the second.

Let them rest as  I dressed the greens with a simple vinaigrette.  Then I just plated them up as pictured. 

I guess I got lucky.  They seem to have seared very nicely. I never noticed any oozing of liquid during cooking or as they rested or after they were plated.

Your scallops were 'Dry Pack' otherwise they never would have browned as your picture shows. Next time, do not rinse and dry however.-Dick

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Just following along here folks... for dry-pack scallops (good thing) do not rinse the scallop? Why? An in turn and for those that are "preserved" would immersing in water for an hour help remove some of the polytriphosphate?

Brian

Brian Misko

House of Q - Competition BBQ

www.houseofq.com

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For truly fresh scallops, I don't wash them. I guess it likes oysters and clams, you lose a little of the essence by washing.

The chemicals in wet pack scallops make the scallop absorb water which is what prevents the browning. soaking will not help.-Dick

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Thanks for the follow up. the scallops I had were just sligthly tacky when I took them out of the paper they were wrapped up in when I got them from the fish counter.

Is there even a need to pat them dry with paper towel at that point? or just skip it and season and cook?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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  • 1 month later...

I went to the best fish market we have here last week to buy some fish for my boss. As I was looking around at the offerings, I noticed the sea scallops. They were in a tray that had liquid in the bottom. The liquid wasn't milk white but it was not clear either. I asked the fishmonger if they were treated scallops and he said they were dry, but went on to say that depending on where they were caught, some scallops are naturally "wetter" than others. He said these were from the Carolina coast and were therefore wetter. He said the Maine ones were the driest.

So is he just telling me sh** or is this true? I don't want to waste money on treated scallops that are being passed off as dry.

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I wonder if they are dry scallops (not soaked in preserving solution) that were frozen and then thawed.....the freezing process might have damaged the cells on some level, causing the release of natural liquid.

As far as which ones are wetter or drier, I have no idea what your fishmonger is talking about. Different natural salinity, maybe? But would be interested to know if that's true, and if so, why......

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